Monday, August 31, 2009

Did You Know?

On the eve of another school year, it's a worthwhile use of your time to consider the journey we're about to undertake. This time of year, I find myself feeling at first apprehensive, then excited, and, finally, eerily calm about all the change that is happening around me and in my life. We don't always think about it, but the world is in a constant state of flux that presents challenges and opportunities for all of us.

Perhaps you've seen a version of video clip I've embedded below. It's a great reminder that tomorrow is NOT yesterday:

What does it all mean? Here's what it means to me:

  • As teachers, we must constantly be challenging our students to learn more, do more, and be more because of the obstacles they will face.
  • EVERYONE (including teachers and adults) must ALWAYS be learning! It's not enough to "maintain." We grow or get left behind.
  • Students face challenges we did not, even a few years ago, and will encounter problems we did not anticipate. Therefore, an intensive education that allows them to be flexible thinkers is not simply a good idea, it is necessary if we wish for the US to remain globally competitive in employment and for the world to solve the problems that face our interconnected planet.

Psychology is fun, of course. But there's a bigger reason we're all going to be here at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Additional Textbook Pickup Hours

Given the volume of work I have yet to do before you lovely students arrive on Tuesday, it looks like I will be back at school tomorrow (Friday, August 28).

I'm tentatively scheduling myself to be here from 10-2, so if you haven't picked up your textbook yet, feel free to stop by rm 136 and pick one up from me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So, I Have My Textbook....Now What Do I Do With It?

Sounds crazy, I know, but READING IT is my suggestion.

In all seriousness, the best thing you can do for yourself to get a good start in AP Psych is to start developing your reading strategy for the text. Your first quiz, which will cover the Prologue (yes, the part BEFORE the first chapter) and Chapter 1 of your text, will take place during the second week of the school year. I have yet to determine the exact date, as I'm currently in the process of hammering out our schedule for the year in order to get us ready for the AP Exam in May.

Some things you should know about that first quiz:
  • You are allowed to use notes during quizzes (but not tests) in AP Psych. The point of this is to encourage you to carefully take notes while you read (which helps tremendously in retaining the information....which you will need for the test).
  • The notes can be as detailed as you would like them to be, HOWEVER, you are not allowed to simply photocopy the book. As a practical matter, it would probably NOT be helpful to just copy passages of text verbatim, as there is too much and this will not help you commit it to memory as much as other methods.
  • I would recommend using some sort of outline format (your choice) that helps you organize the information in a way that makes sense to you. I can help you with this if needed.
  • Passively reading the text - without taking notes or using other deliberate strategies to commit the information to memory - is generally not enough to do well on the quizzes. If casually skimming or even giving it a simple "once-through" has been your approach to textbook readings to this point, it will probably not work for this class.
  • Quizzes are multiple choice.
  • Usually about 15 questions on each quiz.
You are incredibly lucky to have the text that you do. David Myers, the author of our book- who I will talk about more during class- has a very accessible writing style. Unlike other texts you sometimes find in the Social Sciences, this one doesn't sound like it was written by robots. He has a sense of humor, so enjoy it!

Notice: Picking Up Textbooks

Just so my students are aware, as I had feared might happen, a meeting was scheduled that I have to attend tomorrow. Thus, I will be out of my room for a while, starting at 9:00 AM. I'm hoping the meeting won't last more than an hour, but I can't make any guarantees. Thus, if you are planning on dropping in to pick up a book, please avoid doing so between 9 and 10 AM, as you will end up waiting for me.

By the way, this is what your text looks like! Hope to see you soon. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Free Binders!

I was pleasantly surprised to find, upon my arrival in the main office this morning, that the high school is discarding a bunch of black 3-ring binders that were previously used to house staff handbooks (I don't know what they'll put our new handbooks in...I guess I'll have to wait and find out).

What does this mean? I was able to scoop up a boxful of FREE 3-ring binders. Sweet!

Since you're probably already planning to stop by on Wednesday and pick up your Psych textbook, why not grab a free binder, too? (Remember, you are required to have one of these for class?) Granted, they're pretty utilitarian-looking (all of them are black), but the price is right. I guess if you want your fancy, Hello Kitty binder you'll have to do your own shopping.

I have a limited number available (I would guess around 25) and they will go on a first-come, first-served basis, so don't delay! They will probably be all gone before school starts. See you soon!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Welcome to AP Psychology!

Greetings, young minds! In checking my rosters at the close of registration week, it appears I have another large crop of AP Psych students headed my way. This is excellent news for a number of reasons:

1.) In choosing to take an AP course, you are better preparing yourself for the rigors of college AND possibly saving yourself some cold hard cash. Since AP courses are designed to mimic comparable college courses, you get a taste of what is expected down the road. Also, if you pass the AP Psychology Exam with a score of 3 or better, you can earn college credit. The pdf. to the right outlines research done on the benefits of AP courses; click here to download your own copy.
2. ) AP Psychology is a GREAT place to start if this is your first AP course. Since Introductory Psychology (Psych 100 or 101 at many universities) is required for many different college majors (education, nursing, name it) it is very likely to be something you'll take in college anyway. AND it's a downright fun course, if I do say so myself! Word on the street is that Psychology is about to overtake Biology as the most popular AP 2009 almost 150,000 high school students from across the country participated in the exam, and next year we hope to count you in those numbers! Follow this link to download a comprehensive description of the AP Psychology course (published by the College Board).
3.) Psychology helps you understand why people do what they do. This is the subject with the most interesting focus of study: human beings! If you've ever been puzzled as to why a friend, stanger, or (gasp) enemy acts the way he/she does, psychology might be able to give you some answers.
I am looking forward to meeting each of my new students in person! More posts soon to come on required and optional resources to help you succeed in this class.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Psychology on Broadway

Love psychology? Love musicals? Well, you are in luck! The broadway musical Next to Normal is getting a lot of attention these days from psychology enthusiasts and music critics alike. The plot of the musical centers on the character of Diana, a wife and mother with worsening bipolar disorder, and the conflict created in her family.

The production recently snapped up two Tony Awards (out of 11 nominations), so it's clearly a great show even for those with only a casual interest in psychiatry. Recently, lyricist Brian Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss the production.

Though currently on Broadway, perhaps if the show stays popular a nationwide tour could be in the works? That way we in the Midwest could take in a show. Cross your fingers.

The video clip below is from a performance by cast members at the 2009 Tony Awards.